Monday, September 21, 2009

A Radical's Book - "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Alinsky

Comments by Chuck Lehmann

"The name Saul Alinsky has been mentioned many times over the past couple of years, mainly because he has been designated as one of President Barack Hussein Obama's mentors (even though Alinsky died in 1972) as he began his political career which has culminated with him being elected President in 2008. Many people who evaluate Obama's methods and policies, equate them with the ideas and methods set down by the "Father of Community Organizers", Saul Alinsky. Lt. Col. Matthew Dodd (ret. USMC) has read the book in question, "Rules for Radicals" and has offered an objective review of its contents". Here's his review.

"Rules for Radicals" Review by Lt. Col. Matthew Dodd

This book is a methodical collection of thoughts, actions, and principles from the master 1930s-70s radical, Saul Alinsky, for maximizing opportunities to influence masses of people into rejecting and fighting the status quo. If you share Alinsky's basic and fundamental beliefs, this book is a great 'how-to' for becoming a radical and political activist. If you are opposed to Alinsky's political activism, born out of his negative outlook of and perspectives on our American way of life, this book can help you understand the methods and the 'madness' of those people
and forces that disrupt and try to tear down our traditional societal norms.

This book was not an easy read for I disagreed strongly with what he said about my country that I love and his general outlook on life. Alinsky used the following terms interchangeably: "activist," "radical," "orga-nizer," "agitator,"
"revolutionary," and "man of action." Another 'word group' used frequently was the many forms and variations of "organize" and "organizer" - some 356 times in 196 pages. I found his approach to change and reform crafty, cunning, deceitful, insidious, and disingenuous. His methods are masterfully designed to take advantage of our imperfect systems, and human weaknesses and tendencies. Another disturbing aspect of the book was the predominance of militaristic language when discussing the 'how' and 'why' of his logic: war, battle, attack, tactics, enemy, and strategy.

Alinsky was smart and well-read, but I believe he chose to put his intellect and energies to use for detrimental purposes. He offered many observations and perspectives that differed from my own beliefs and experiences, which was not necessarily a problem, but coming after his "acknowledgment to... the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom - Lucifer," I found his logic and morals seriously flawed.

Rating this book was a new challenge for me. I vehemently disagreed with so much of the content that giving it a lot of stars was out of the question. Objectively, it was well-written and structured to support the author's perspectives, so in that sense it was not a bad book. In the end, however, taken together, I believe Alinsky's beliefs and methods are negative, destructive, and counter-productive, and I could not rate this book as high as books that contribute more positively to the advancement of our American way of life.

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1 comment:

Gary Peters said...

Gee, who'd have thought Obama would have as a mentor, Saul Alinsky? After all, he has had some other great mentors in his life like Frank Marshall Davis, an avowed Communist who befiended Obama during his teen years in Hawaii, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his anti-White, anti-Semetic pastor for 20 years, his friend and associate, the the anarchist and unrepentent terrorist, Bill Ayers, and the convicted felon Tony Rezko who bakrolled Obama in the purchase of his house in Chicago. With friends like those, who needs enemies. Remember, you can take the man out of Chicago, but you can't take Chicago out of the man.